Image from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, 2003. Solar and lunar eclipses occur when the Moon is either full (opposite the Sun) or “new” (conjunct the Sun), and one of the lunar nodes is located within 15 degrees of a conjunction to the Moon. As you’ve probably heard me say before, the astrological impact of an eclipse comes from the presence of the lunar nodes.
The nodes of the Moon are points in the sky where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun as it is observed from Earth. They are not actual astronomical bodies, but instead serve as signposts to show us where we have come from and what we need to leave behind (South, or descending Node) and the direction in which our soul is taking us (North, or ascending Node). The Nodes represent the crossroads between the Soul (Moon) and the Spirit (Sun) with the physical incarnation (Earth). Powerful stuff!
Typically there are two pairs of eclipses in a year, with two eclipses in each pair. This summer brings three separate eclipses:
- Solar eclipse June 1st at 11 Gemini
- Lunar eclipse June 15th at 24 Sagittarius
- Solar eclipse July 1st at 9 Cancer
The last time there were three eclipses in the summer was 2009 and you can read more about that here.
Although eclipses have been feared for thousands of years, unless you follow Vedic principles there is no need to fear an eclipse period. Eclipses tend to reveal and expose aspects of our lives which are hidden and which need to be brought into the conscious realm in order for us to develop and progress. This isn’t always fun, but the end result is worth any momentary discomfort we may experience.
The solar eclipse on June 1st is a partial eclipse (with the nodes 12 degrees from the Moon), and not very powerful. In addition, the Moon makes no direct aspect to any other planet other than a nice trine to Saturn.
The lunar eclipse on June 15th is another story. This is a total eclipse, and the T-square with Saturn, Uranus and Pluto is lining up and will form a Grand Cross with the Summer Solstice Sun at 0 degrees Cancer. (Geeky astrological detail: Uranus will be at 4 Aries, Pluto at 6 Cap, Saturn at 10 Libra.) The planetary energy is intensifying at this time and we may encounter some energy shifts that will affect us personally as well.
The chart for the Solstices and Equinoxes often reflects weather patterns for that season, and no wonder we’ve been having such severe weather over the past year: Each Solstice and Equinox, at 0 degrees of a cardinal sign, has been in a stressful alignment with Saturn, Uranus or Pluto. The trend will continue over the summer and into the fall of 2011.
The final eclipse of the season will occur July 1st at the New Moon. With the Sun and Moon at 9 degrees Cancer, this eclipse is firmly locked into the Cardinal Grand Cross. If you have planets in your own chart between 3 and 12 degrees of one of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) this eclipse could have a dramatic effect on your emotions, your psyche, your relationships with others (which is usually the domain through which our emotions are expressed).
Planetary cycles only wreak havoc with our lives where change is needed. In an ideal world, learning about astrology will help us to embrace change with trust and an open heart, providing us with a greater understanding that the patterns of the Universe unfold with meaning and compassion.